Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Luke 1:18 (NLT)
The angel came and told Zechariah that God has heard his prayers and his wife was going to have a son. Zechariah’s first response was basically to say “Look, we are old. How do I know what you said will happen will actually happen?”
Later in Luke 1, an angel appeared to Mary. He told her that she would become pregnant even though she was not married. Mary, like Zechariah, was also confused. Her question though was a little different. Mary pointed out that she was a virgin and asked how she could be pregnant.
So why was Zechariah left unable to speak until his son was born and Mary was encouraged?
The questions of both were a little different. Zechariah questioned God and what he said would come to pass. Mary’s question was more sorting through in her mind what was necessary to become pregnant knowing she had not participated in that.
God doesn’t mind our questions. He says that we should come to him, reason with him and he will share with us. What I think he minded with Zechariah is that Zechariah doubted what he could do. Zechariah was questioning God’s ability to make Elizabeth get pregnant even in her old age. He was allowing humanness to trump God’s ability. I guess, in a way it was a lack of faith.
I wish I could sit here and say that I follow more in Mary’s footsteps than Zechariah’s but I am not sure I think that is true. God promises a lot of things in his Word and still I doubt. I want to be more like Mary and respond with “I am your servant. May everything you said come true” and trust in those promises.
Zechariah was unable to speak for a time as a reminder of who God was. And Praise The Lord! God didn’t give up on Zechariah and he won’t give up on us either!